Bam: LGUs open to fast tracking permits for cell sites, IT infrastructure

Are you amenable to fast tracking permits for Internet infrastructure?

 Senator Bam Aquino threw this challenge to local government units (LGUs), which are being blamed for the slow and tedious issuing of permits to build the cell sites needed to improve internet quality in the country.

 “If we include provisions on fast tracking cell site construction, how would the LGUs feel about that?” Sen. Bam asked during the Senate hearing on proposal to grant President Duterte emergency powers to solve the worsening traffic problem in the country.

“If in the emergency powers bill, in an Executive Order, or in the Free Wi-Fi Bill, nakalagay doon na within one month, the cities must choose specific areas for cell site applications, would you be amenable?” Sen. Bam asked Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, Calamba City Mayor Justin Marc Chipeco and representatives from Manila and Pasay.

“Opo. In fact, we also want that dahil iyan ang hinihingi ng mga kababayan namin, magiging expeditious din ang mga proyekto at the same time, iyong access the communication mabilis din,” said Mayor Bautista.

 However, Bautista said they can only fast track the process for government-owned properties and not on private properties, such as subdivisions, which must go through the regular process of permit approval.

 “We fully support that proposal. Kaya po iyon,” said Manila City administrator Atty. Ericson Alcovendaz.

 “We support that initiative. Information Technology (IT) has a significant footprint on the solution [to traffic]. If we can make less people go out on the streets and work from home, so much the better,” stressed Pasay City administrator Dennis Acorda.

Chipeco, for his part, supports the proposal as he sees the need to improve Internet speed because it is a necessity, more than a luxury. 

In an earlier hearing conducted by Sen. Bam as chairman of the Committee on Science and Technology, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and telecommunication companies complained about difficulty in acquiring permits from LGUS for their infrastructure development efforts.

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